By: Nicholas Been, Edited by Lily Hughes
The Campaign to End the Death Penalty was honored to have the participation of several members of the Kids Against the Death Penalty at our recent convention in Austin, Texas. They are a group of mostly high school age kids who have taken a stand against the injustices of the death penalty. Some of the KADP have family members on death row, and all are courageous young men and women who speak out to their peers about this issue. KADP member Nicholas Been addressed our convention with the following words:
Kids Against the Death Penalty (KADP)
By Nicholas Been
We are all here today because at our cores, we know that murder is wrong. And, when I say murder, I mean all types of murder; which includes state sanctioned killings. Life…is precious and…a God given right; period! No ifs ands or buts about it! Further, everyone is entitled to it: young or old, male or female, black or white, rich or poor, straight or gay, upstanding citizen or convict. It makes no difference who you are, where you live or what you do, we are all equal in the fact that we have the basic right to exist!
Now, I have done quite a bit of traveling in my short life, and there really is no place like home; but sometimes I am ashamed to tell people I live in Texas. There is a stigma to it, and I am often looked upon as a barbarian because Texas leads the nation in state sanctioned murder. The death penalty definitely casts a shadow on Texas! It casts a shadow on democracy! And it cast a shadow on our humanity, and our reputation as caring individuals.
As a kid, I feel as though I am being lied to in school because I have been taught that we have a government for the people. What they should really say is we have a government that enslaves the poor and underprivileged. They should say we have the best law makers and politicians that money can buy! They should say we have a system that makes slaves of its citizens! They should say we have allowed the government the power to kill with no consequences!
Now we should say…no more! We should say equality! We should say justice not injustice! We should say qualified law-makers for Texas, not the most popular candidate! We should say no more slavery! We should say no more killing! And we should scream…education!
Because…education is the key to abolition. Therefore we need to target “our future”…our children.
We also need to target future lawyers, politicians, and judges…and we need to start while they are in school, and while they have the drive and the means to do the necessary research. The truth about injustice is out there, it just needs to be found and brought out into the light.
You can make a difference by teaching your children right from wrong. You can make a difference by teaching your children that all life is precious! You can make a difference by teaching the fact that we are all children of God and that we all have a place in the world! You can teach mercy and forgiveness in place of hatred and vengeance!
KADP members challenge each and every one of you to do that! So how about it? Will you share the truth? Will you teach abolition? Will you teach humanity?